I assume that everyone knows breastfeeding is difficult. Then again, I assume that based on hindsight, which we all know is 20/20. I'm pretty sure before I had my first child I had no idea what I was getting into. Luckily for moms who are currently struggling on the nursing front, the breastfeeding moms of Reddit share their nursing advice openly. When the internet isn't being the worst, it's honestly kind of the best.
Reddit user champ_darling sought out other nursing Redditors' for advice and support when she was starting her breastfeeding journey 12 days into her newborn's life. Not being able to start breastfeeding immediately has been said to impact the breastfeeding relationship, and it certainly did for me. I wasn't able to breastfeed my NICU baby for the first two days of my newfound mom life, and breastfeeding never really took hold for either one of us as a result.
Champ_darling shares that she couldn't nurse at the hospital due to being in the ICU herself, and now she's trying to start breastfeeding an almost 2-week-old baby who has been exclusively formula feeding up to this point. Her newborn does nothing but scream when placed at the breast and the new mama is stuck in a small town, unable to drive, with no lactation support, desperately seeking advice on how to get her baby to latch. The nursing moms of reddit had the following advice for her, and I have a feeling the same advice could be unbelievable beneficial to all breastfeeding moms, the world over:
Use YouTube Videos
The beauty of technology is that, though nothing substitutes for in-person support, instructional videos can absolutely stand in until you're able to lean on a real life human being.
Seek A Lactation Consultant
Ask if the lactation consultant will come to your home! Even if you're remote some of them will, especially if you're medically unable to drive.
Try Many Different Holds
Because every single hold is a little different — as is every baby and every breastfeeding mom — experimenting with a lot of different holds to see which works for you and your little one is definitely the way to go.
Keep offering the breast even if the baby's sustenance is coming from formula (and as long as it's not negatively impacting your mental health).
Contact La Leche League
Their lactation consultants may come to your house, but be aware some have criticized the organization for contributing to formula-shaming, so it may not be the best option for some moms.
As a formerly struggling nursing mother myself, I think the most important advice I could give is to not judge yourself. If breastfeeding is important to you, keep trying. But it's totally OK to stop trying, too. Find a compassionate and knowledgeable lactation consultant, then find a mother or advocate that knows that combo-feeding, and switching to exclusively formula-feeding, is not a failure.
Surround yourself with supportive family and friends and try to focus on what you and your baby actually find helpful, rather than what you think "good moms" should do.